Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Transcript: CIA Director Mike Pompeo on "Face the Nation," Jan. 7, 2018

President Trump brought senior members of his national security team along with him to Camp David this weekend to brief Republican leaders in Congress about a range of foreign issues facing the U.S. In just the past week, North Korea and South Korea reopened lines of communication, the U.S. cut off aid to Pakistan and the administration has grappled with the fallout over massive protests in Iran.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo was one of the administration officials on hand at Camp David to keep lawmakers abreast of the U.S. position on foreign policy issues. Pompeo became CIA director nearly a year ago after serving in the House, where he was a prominent member of the House Intelligence Committee. 

The following is a transcript of the interview with Pompeo that aired Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, on "Face the Nation."  

JOHN DICKERSON: Good morning and welcome to Face the Nation. I'm John Dickerson. With temperatures getting down to the single digits in Washington this weekend, the president, members of his cabinet, and the Republican congressional leadership left the city and huddled at Camp David to talk about priorities for the new year. C.I.A. director Mike Pompeo was at Camp David for the meetings but is back in Washington and joins us this morning. Welcome, Mr. Director.

MIKE POMPEO: John, thank you for having me on this morning.

JOHN DICKERSON: The president said he is a stable genius. Is he?

MIKE POMPEO: I'm with the president nearly every day. We engage in complex conversations about some of the most weighty matters facing the world. I deliver to him this exquisite product that's been developed by my officers. He engages in a way that shows his understanding of the complexity. He asks really hard questions. He delivers policy outcomes based on the information that we provide him. My observation of the president is that, you know, we deal in serious matters and that this book is in no way that. 

JOHN DICKERSON: The JCPOA is the so-called Iran deal. So in that sense has the Iran deal forced destabilization in Iran? And is therefore that good for- in terms of U.S. interests?

MIKE POMPEO: Well- well, from the C.I.A.'s perspective, I won't get into the policy piece of this one. The C.I.A.'s perspective, what is clear is that there have been economic difficulties in Iran in places outside of Tehran. There is massive unemployment. The- the- What the Iranian people were promised has not happened. They can see that. And thus they have taken to the streets.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Pakistan. The U.S. is cutting off aid to Pakistan. That's a- Pakistan is a nuclear power. Is it a good idea pressuring Pakistan, given all that's on the rest of the plate in the United States with a nuclear power?

MIKE POMPEO: John, again, I'm going to avoid the policy that you asked about, but I'll talk to you from the intelligence perspective what we see. We see that Pakistan is continuing to provide safe harbor havens inside of Pakistan for terrorists who present risks to the United States of America. We are doing our best to inform the Pakistanis that that is no longer going to be acceptable. So this- this conditioned aid, we've given them a chance. If they fix this problem, we're happy to continue to engage with them and be their partner. But if they don't, we're going to protect America.

JOHN DICKERSON: Haven't we always though- We get a lot of the U.S. intelligence benefits from things that the Pakistanis let the United States do as well. And so isn't there kind of a relationship that may not be perfect, but for the bad things they do they allow U.S. counterterrorism forces to benefit from staging or other benefits out of Pakistan? So isn't that at risk as a national security problem for the United States?

MIKE POMPEO: The president has made very clear that he needs Pakistan to cease being a safe haven for terrorists that threaten the United States of America. End. Period. Full stop. 

JOHN DICKERSON: --section. There's some question about how long to reauthorize it. What is the C.I.A.'s position about this program, which allows surveillance of foreign people but also critics believe allows a backdoor to- to gaining information about Americans?

MIKE POMPEO: John, the- section 702 is an important component of American national security. It allows us, the C.I.A., to observe communications from non-U.S. citizens, persons outside of the United States. That's- that's central to our mission. And so we are very hopeful that we can reach an accommodation, that we can get to the right place. And I understand it may well come to a vote this week.More, CBS


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